Great Running Locales in Southern Maryland
Living on the eastern side of Charles County in Benedict allows me to access a wealth of running experiences. We've got everything over here: varying elevations and landscape; everything from riverfront and neighborhood streets to tree-lined, hard-packed trails.
There are multiple trails nearby that I like and it's to these that I most often turn. Maxwell Hall is the closest and my go-to when I'm looking for elevation. There are a couple of hills that lead to the park and the park itself is set along the banks of the Patuxent river; it circles fields and the trail is generally grass and packed sand, which is great training for all-terrain training, and the varying surfaces can help reduce injury.
Another close one--and one that I will happily drive to--is Calvert Cliffs. The park has multiple trails. They're wide and are generally gravel or sand packed. I like the variety in this park. Bring a towel for swatting biting flies in the warmer months though (those bugs'll getcha!)
When I can't get to either of these parks, I just head out the front door and do what I affectionately call "loopage", which is just running along the streets that wind through my neighborhood. Benedict isn't all that big, but I can easily get in 6-7 miles with about three loops. I've actually run 22 miles without ever leaving Benedict. While it's the simplest choice (I mean, it doesn't get much easier than stepping out the front door and just going, right?) it can be rather boring doing that many loops, so that's something to consider if your neighborhood isn't terribly expansive (repetition can get old quickly and can end up being discouraging).
Running along the trails in Southern Maryland and through the neighborhoods of Charles County is great for another reason, too: it's getting me ready to run the St. Charles 10-Miler. Set for April 13, St. Charles is a race I've been involved with since its inception and one of my personal favorites. It's a well-run and abundantly supported race. A terrific community event with, all of the proceeds going to support the Special Olympics, local youth athletic programs, and the College of Southern Maryland.
I'm looking forward to the St. Charles 10-miler; it'll be the first race I've run since Nations Tri in 2011. This course is very interesting: mostly flat with a couple of rollers at about miles 3 and 8; it's gonna be a great time!
If you haven't registered, what are you waiting for? - www.stcharlesrunfest.com - Get out, enjoy a great run through Charles County, and support your community. I gave you all the link, you've got no excuse now. I hope to see you all there and I'll be easy to spot in my hot pink compression socks (those are fodder for another blog post.) Until next time, happy running and see you at St. Charles!